1997, the character Stainboy shows up in the Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, a children’s poetry book by Tim Burton. In 2000, Tim Burton creates “The World of Stainboy,” a series of flash animation shorts about Stainboy, who works for the Burbank police and at the start of each episode is tasked to investigate and bring in social outcasts.  After those six short episodes, Stainboy seems to fade away.

10 years later, Burton decided to create another Stainboy story, but this time, he was not the one writing it.  This time, he used Twitter. He called this method a, “cadaver exquis” (which means exquisite corpse).  Which, according to Wikipedia “is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled.”

From November 22 – December 6, Burton’s Twitter users could use the hashtag, #BurtonStory to Tweet their additions to the thrilling tale of Stainboy. Burton would pick out a Tweet a day to continue the story.  88 handpicked Tweets later, Stainboy’s latest tale is complete.

I really have to applaud Tim Burton here.  His @BurtonStory Twitter account gained more than 10,000 followers in a manner of weeks.  It’s just another example of how involved users can get with social media.

Burton found a new, unique and highly interactive way to involve himself with his Twitter followers, and managed to return a nearly forgotten character to the limelight.  What’s more, he accredited each individual Tweet to the Tweet’s author, listing them under their actual names, not just Twitter accounts and even linked to each of their Twitter accounts.

Bravo Tim Burton, bravo.

I would love to read your thoughts on this experiment in the comment section below!

For those curious, here are the 6 World of Stainboy shorts via YouTube

Tim Burton’s Stainbow, Episode 1- Stare Girl

Tim Burton’s Stainboy Episode 2- Toxic Boy

Tim Burton’s Stainboy Episode 3- Bowling Ball Head

Tim Burton’s Stainboy, Episode 4-Robot Boy

Tim Burton’s Stainboy, Episode 5- Matchstick Girl

Tim Burton’s Stainboy, Episode 6- The Origin of Stainboy